Sunday, 15 July 2018

#ChaayosMonsoon Heralds Experiments With Chaats...

Chaayos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

At the heart of Dilli, lie two things - tea in monsoons and Connaught Place.

Dilli is well-known for two things - street food (lip-smacking चाट) and monuments.

What if these four come together for an amalgamation that woos the hearts of common folk every season?

Yes, I am referring to Chaayos - a brand that has been the focal point for its 'Experiments with Chai' every season - be it summer, monsoon, or winter - thanks to its concept of cyclic menus - that have something new to offer each time - be it with their beverages or snacks.

This time around, 'Experiments with Chai' has been revamped to 'Experiments with Chaats' as Chaayos has set foot (or should I say taste buds?) into the savory segment.

In the offing for #ChaayosMonsoon are new additions of four Chaats that prompted me to pay a visit to Chaayos' new home - in M Block, CP - which is their second after a quaint one in F Block, CP.

As a matter of fact, Chaayos M Block, CP is their largest outlet in Delhi, and the second largest in the country, only succeeded by one at Chhatrapati Shivaji Domestic Terminal in Vile Parle, Mumbai.

This particular outlet could as well be called a mini tea estate of sorts as it has alleys and arches leading to partitioned seating areas, love for tea and the capital city alike depicted through aesthetic wall art, and even a map of Delhi illustrated tastefully.

Not to forget that the outlet has donned a playful avatar with paper boats all over the place, to prompt patrons to ring in childhood memories associated with monsoons. :)

Life has only two T&C - Travel and Chai, and Chaayos as a brand is living up to both of them, one step at a time - by reaching cities across the nation with the rapid expansion of the cafe chain, and exploring the diversity that can be achieved on the plate as far as both tea and snacks are concerned.

Elucidating my experience of 'Experiments with Chaat', this #ChaayosMonsoon, here goes...

Egg White Chaat is the most चटपटा among the four, with the low-calorie, protein-rich element of egg - the whites - providing for a good relish especially when garnished with thinly sliced tomato chunks and onion - paired with the in-house mayonnaise sauce.

Bhelpuri is the quintessential street food that needs no introduction and has a personality of its own, thanks to puffed rice being paired with सेव, पापड़ी, onions, and tomatoes - the entire presentation is complemented by a dash of lime.  At Chaayos too, the Bhelpuri Chaat is unmistakably appetizing.

Chicken Keema Papdi Chaat is hard to miss out on, thanks to its intriguing presentation of chunks of
पापड़ी being layered with minced chicken, the red and pink hues, and mint garnish. As far as the flavor is concerned, the zest and tang embody what 'Dilli Ki Chaat' should be like.

Samosa Matar Chaat is the most elaborate of all, owing to the fact that a true-blue Delhi-6 style समोसा paired with मटर, interspersed with a spread of पापड़ी chunks, tamarind chutney, चाट मसाला, and a hearty dash of lime comes across as a delight to the eyes and the tummy, all at the same time.

It's a tough task to pick favorites among the 'Experiments with Chaat' that #ChaayosMonsoon brings forth, only made tougher by the meme-driven 'चाय पी लो' that has taken social networks by storm, on which Chaayos hasn't failed to take a quip too.

On the whole, I had a hearty time with #ChaayosMonsoon this time around, and I am sure that the new menu would be successful to fuel another home run for one of the most loved tea chains across Delhi that Chaayos continues to be. :)

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Chilean Kiwi On Indian Horizon...

The Chilean fruit industry backed by the collaboration between the Embassy of Chile and the nation’s commercial trade office - ProChile, recently announced plans to support the growth of Chilean Kiwifruit exports to the Indian fresh fruit market.

Chile has formally launched their first strategic promotional effort to increase trade and consumer awareness about the excellent quality of Chilean Kiwifruit and tap into the market opportunities created by the rapid growth of kiwi consumption in India.

In order to capture the Indian market, the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX), the Chilean Kiwifruit Committee backed by the important support and financing of the Ministry of Agriculture of Chile, through the Fund for the Promotion of Agroforestry Exports, administered by ProChile will structure a comprehensive promotional campaign in India for this season.

The campaign is also being supported by three leading fresh kiwi produce importing companies from India - Aayush Impex, IG International, and NGK Trading and retail partner in India - BigBasket.

Chile is a country in the Latin American region occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west and is the third largest exporter of kiwifruit and avocados to countries across the world.

According to the World’s Top Exports report this year, India imported 59% more kiwifruit from Chile than in the previous season, thereby giving Chile a 50% advantage in tariffs compared to other countries that export this fruit to India. The Indian Government accorded this achievement to Chilean kiwifruit last year under a bilateral agreement.

While there are a number of varieties of Kiwifruit globally, Chile exports the Hayward or green variety on a primary basis. There is a fundamental difference in the balance between sweetness and acidity among the numerous varieties.

Carolina Vasquez, Commercial Director of ProChile in India, stated thus

“The Indian market holds great importance for Chilean kiwifruit due to the rising demand in the country. Through this campaign, our aim will be to promote our kiwifruit and also raise awareness about Chile as a unique supplier of an array of food products such as berries, nut, and seafood as well as creating a greater understanding of the benefits of the preferential trade agreement signed between Chile and India”.

On the occasion, Charif Christian Carvajal, the Marketing Director for Asia of the CHILEAN FRUIT EXPORTERS ASSOCIATION (ASOEX) said,

“This is the first time that the Chilean fruit industry will undertake multiple promotional campaigns targeting the India market. This campaign includes the participation and financing of producers and exporters of Chilean kiwifruit that export to this market, the support of the Chilean Government through ProChile and the Ministry of Agriculture, and, for the first time, the promotional efforts will include economic contributions from the major importers and distributors of kiwifruit in the Indian market. Thus, we can affirm that this is an effort from all the actors of the supply chain and which demonstrates the commitment that our industry has to the Indian market.”

According to Charif, Chile aims to tap the three stages of sales: Import, Distribution, and Retail. Within the retail sector, online as well as offline channels, cash and carry models like WalMart, and small-scale vendors are being approached for tie-ups.

Over the years, India has emerged as one of the fastest growing markets for Kiwifruit, primarily attributed to the Indian fruit market’s demand for exotic fruits that has seen an upward trend because of a prospering urban class, an enhanced exposure to the cultures of different countries, and a rising demography of health-conscious people.

To implement the promotion campaign the industry has partnered with SS Associates, a Gurgaon based food marketing consultancy firm. Sumit Saran, the Director of SS Associates, said,

“Our company is proud to have this opportunity to launch the promotional campaign of the Chilean kiwifruit in India. We believe that we will reach the most demanding consumers with specific promotions, through actions in the retail market and various media. We will have a positive impact in increasing the penetration and knowledge of Chile's kiwi exports.”

With the event also graced by Master Chef and Padma Shree Sanjeev Kapoor and Celebrity Nutritionist Kavita Devgan, there was bound to be a discussion centered around how effectively kiwifruit can be a part of our daily diet.

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor also demonstrated the culinary usage of kiwifruit by conducting a short master class that emphasized the Chile-India relation.

On the other hand, nutritionist Kavita Devgan emphasized the extraordinary benefits of kiwifruit including the fact that Kiwi is a natural laxative packed with folate and anti-oxidants while highlighting its role in building immunity against some of the major illnesses prevalent in today's day and age.

With the launch and promotion of Chile Kiwifruit in India, Chile is hopeful that this step will represent an important contribution towards strengthening the country’s image amongst importers, distributors, retailers and end consumers in India and globally too. :)

Friday, 6 July 2018

Farm-To-Table With KinnowKart!

It is said that one should their keep friends close and enemies closer. I would like to rephrase it to 'Keep Your Friends Close, and Farmers Closer', because this is the era where health is of utmost importance and our intake in terms of food, is to viewed critically.

With adulteration being at the helm for any and every kind of fruits, veggies, staples, and even processed food, one must be concerned as well as informed as to what is going into our bodies, owing to the fact that what the hand accepts as food for nourishment could turn out to be toxic in the long run.

It is imperative to embrace the organic route for our diet as above all, it is the natural soil that is capable of providing any food cultivation the nutrients it requires for maturation so that it could benefit and not harm our systems.

Keeping the above concept in mind, India’s first e-commerce portal dedicated to the organically grown citrus fruit Kinnow has been launched by Alba Info Solutions LLP. ensures delivery of best quality non-preserved Kinnow at one's doorstep thus, adhering to the farm-to-table ideology, of providing completely fresh, preservative-free fruit, to the health-conscious masses. is Alba Solutions' third offering looking towards benefitting society. The other two being Shiksha Sudhar (an Edu-socio initiative) and HorsesofIndia (A dedication to equestrian pursuits). 

Also known as Punjab’s 'King Fruit', Kinnow is highly regarded for its health benefits. Kinnow harvesting begins when it sports an orange hue on the outside, typically from December to February. The best harvesting time is mid-January to mid-February when the fruit attains a TSS/acid ratio of 12:1 to 14:1.

Mr. Deepak Khanna, Director Alba Info Solutions LLP had this to say about KinnowKart.

“We provide 100% organic Kinnows straight from our farms in Abohar to your table within 36 hours. We have also tied with leading schools for placement of Kinnowkart counters, vending freshly squeezed Kinnow juice. The fruit can be stored in cold storage at a temperature of 4-5 °C and a relative humidity of 85-90%.”

Mr. Kunal Chahar, Director Alba Info Solutions LLP further added - “Kinnows have multiple health benefits. It is one of those fruits that aids digestion, works as a body energizer, and helps in kick-starting the metabolism and keeping one healthy for a long time”.

The fruit 'Kinnow' is a high yield mandarin hybrid cultivated extensively in the wider Punjab region of India. It is a hybrid of two citrus cultivars: 'King' (Citrus nobilis) × 'Willow Leaf' (Citrus deliciosa) - first developed by Howard B. Frost, at the University of California Citrus Experiment Station. After evaluation, 'Kinnow' was released as a new citrus hybrid for commercial cultivation in 1935.

In the hot climate, plants can grow up to 35 feet high. Kinnow trees are highly productive; it is not uncommon to find 1000 fruits per tree. The fruit matures in January-February. It peels easily and has a high juice content. has tied up with TGH Lifestyle Services Pvt. Ltd for distribution to corporate Speaking at the occasion Ms. Ritu Grover, CEO TGH said,

“We have been working for various corporate for so many years. This is one fruit which though seasonal has multiple benefits and that is why we decided to tie up for promotion and for spreading the good word.”

On the whole, it is a good initiative on Alba Info Solutions' part, and I hope that it is received nicely by the masses too. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

#IPledgeFor9 - Upholding Surakshit Matritva In India...

“In just 23 months, we have achieved 1.3 crore antenatal check-ups at 12,900 healthcare facilities across the country. And we also identified 6.5 lakh high-risk pregnancies.”

This was stated by Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare while giving away the ‘IPledgeFor9' Achievers Awards to the individuals and teams of doctors from the private sector and States for their exemplary services, outstanding support of institutions and commitment from support partners in achieving the mission’s objectives of safe motherhood to every woman in the country. Shri J P Nadda also conferred awards to the States that have shown an exemplary decline in MMR as per the recently released SRS data.

Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Smt Anupriya Patel, Ministers of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Vinod Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, Health Ministers from various states and Smt Preeti Sudan, Secretary (Health) along with Heads of FOGSI (Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists Society) and IMA (Indian Medical Association) were also present at the event.

Speaking at the function, Shri J P Nadda stated that our strength lies in the fact that whatever programme we take up it becomes the largest in the world and we have taken up those programmes which will have far-reaching impacts.

Shri Nadda further said that India has made substantial progress on several indicators in spite of its huge numbers and challenging topography. The Union Health Minister added that India has shown impressive gains with 22% reduction in Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) since 2013. “We must also appreciate that Uttar Pradesh with 30% decline has topped the chart in the reduction of maternal deaths,” he said.

Shri J P Nadda further said that providing quality services to over 2 crore pregnant women in India required the amalgamation of far-reaching vision, policy, and implementation at the ground level. “One of our biggest achievements is that the program has been successful in reaching out to difficult and some of the remotest areas of the country. Of 1.3 crores medical check-ups conducted as part of the campaign, more than 25 lakh were in the high-priority districts identified by the Health ministry for focused attention,” Shri Nadda added.

Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare said, “I am happy to tell you that on the appeal of our Hon’ble Prime Minister doctors across the country have voluntarily come forward and supported the programme of saving lives of pregnant women.” He further added that States joined this programme with equal vigor and Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and other states have been able to improve their MMR.

Smt Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare said that constant innovations have been the hallmark of PMSMA. “In less than two years we started we have reached out to every pregnant woman and in these two years, 1.3 crores ante-natal check-up has been conducted. We are encouraged with the results we have achieved,” she said. Smt Anupriya Patel congratulated all the stakeholders, especially frontline functionaries for their commendable work.

Shri Vinod Paul, Member, NITI Aayog said that reduction in MMR is remarkable and it’s absolutely phenomenal. “Some states have achieved a three-fourths reduction. Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand registered a huge decline. India succeeded in achieving MDG 4 and MDG 5. I congratulate all the stakeholders,” Shri Vinod Paul said.

Since its launch, over 1.30 crore antenatal checks ups have been conducted by public sector obstetrician-gynecologists and voluntary participation of over 5000 private and in rural, urban and hard to reach government health facilities.

This has resulted in identifying more than 650,000 high-risk pregnancies, considered to be a major contributor to preventable maternal deaths. Strengthening the mission’s objectives, around 13000 government healthcare facilities like PHCs, CHCs and District Hospitals are providing PMSMA services on 9th of every month.

The mission is proving to be a successful scalable effort by the government to facilitate positive engagement between the public and private healthcare providers to achieve the SDG targets.

According to a special bulletin on “Maternal Mortality Ratio in India 2014-16” by Sample Registration System, the maternal mortality ratio has declined to 130 in 2014-16 from 167 in 2011-13. Furthering the gain, the government’s ambitious programme for improving maternal care, Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) launched in 2016 is a mission in advancing India’s course of achieving Sustainable Development Goals for MMR below 70 by 2030.

Prime Minister of India in the July 2016 episode of “Mann Ki Baat”, urged private sector doctors to dedicate 12 days in a year to safe motherhood and provide voluntary services under PMSMA on the 9th of every month.

He envisaged that 9th of every month symbolizing 9 months of pregnancy should be dedicated to addressing gaps in maternal health services particularly in hard to reach and rural areas. The mission ensures that every pregnant woman registered under PMSMA receives free, comprehensive and quality antenatal care services in their second and third trimesters across India.

India has made impressive progress in reducing maternal deaths and achieving the targets of MDG 5. Nearly 1000 fewer women are now dying of pregnancy-related complications each month as compared to 2013.

The government's efforts at improving access to maternal health services leading to an increase in institutional births have significantly contributed to a groundbreaking reduction in Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) by 22 percent from 2013 levels.

Emphasis on mitigating the social determinants of maternal health like an increase in girl’s education and reduction in child marriages are other enabling factors that contributed to this notable success.

Following are the awardees who were felicitated as a part of IPledgeFor9 - Surakshit Matritva.

Apart from awards being conferred to states for collective effort, there were also individual awardees, and organizations - FOGSI and IMA - who were felicitated at the gathering.

The PMSMA is indeed a step in the right direction. :)

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Bloodless Innovation To Diagnose Malaria Fever...

Sometimes, a number of initiatives and innovations make the whole world come across as one family. Case in point, a youth in Uganda has accepted the challenge to do something significant for humankind.

This 24-year-old engineer from Uganda, Brian Gitta, has invented a faster and low-cost method to test malaria fever symptoms in a patient. For this incredible achievement, Brian has won Africa’s top award for innovation in engineering.

The prize by the UK Royal Academy of Engineering for Africa aims to develop the entrepreneurial and innovative skills of engineers. These kinds of initiatives definitely motivate and inculcate creative skills in youth to focus on and tackle some of the world’s most challenging problems in any field. The young innovators who identify such challenges dedicate themselves to work towards finding out an optimum and most feasible solution that caters to masses.

The first thing that would come to anybody’s mind is what makes his invention unique and better than previous testing methods. The answer is quite simple. This new testing method to diagnose malaria symptoms in a patient is completely bloodless. In fact, there is no need for a fresh blood sample at all in this testing method.

Rather the device has an ability to identify deforming red blood cells (RBCs) in the body that indicate the presence of malaria parasite. What happens actually is the parasite takes charge of the vacuoles in red blood cells in the patient’s body when he or she gets infected. This results in a change in the cell’s shape. 

The new testing device diagnoses this change in the body of the patient without taking a blood sample. Its functioning is quite simple too. It needs just to clip the device onto a patient’s finger to diagnose malaria fever symptoms.

A red beam of light then scans for changes in red blood cells in the body. These changes could be in the color, shape, and concentration of the RBCs. Another plus point of this device is its use that is quite simple and doesn’t require any specialist to operate. Once clipped on a patient’s finger, the device produces results within a few minutes.

The device delivers the test results immediately to the patient’s cell phone. These wonderful and innovative features make this device so simple that it becomes ideally the most suitable for remote areas that lack proper healthcare facilities. 

That means remote rural areas will get benefited the most where a lot of lives are lost just because of lack of facilities or facilities being too far from their areas that it would take a lot of time to visit those locations.

Given lack of diagnosis of malaria fever symptoms, a patient doesn’t receive the right treatment in time. A lack of transport facilities in such areas further deteriorates the cases because of loss of precious time and attention a patient needs. Gitta has named this device ‘Matibabu’ meaning ‘treatment’ in Swahili. The device to detect and identify signs and symptoms of malaria has thus become a point of discussion in the global arena in no time. 

In all other instances, it is always better to use products by reliable brands like Goodknight to keep mosquitoes at bay and avoid diseases like malaria. :)